Working From Home

The role of feedback in a flex work model

The role of feedback in a flex work model


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Feedback is one of the most important resources at work. It can be used to energize people, fuel their growth, guide them in the right direction, inform future behavior, clarify expectations, and help them to attain goals. Thus, it is central to motivation, performance, and even workplace safety (1,2). As the world is embracing remote work more than ever, many fear this will be associated with a lack of feedback when compared to the typical face-to-face workplace. This is a reasonable concern! A great deal of informal feedback is exchanged within an office environment. For instance, you might be accustomed to an impromptu huddle in the hallway after a meeting to discuss what went well and what did not. You also might be missing those “water cooler conversations” with your boss. All of these feedback components should still continue in a remote setting. In fact, researchers have shown that more frequent feedback in virtual teams is associated with higher motivation, satisfaction, performance, and learning (3, 4).

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Motivating remote workers

Motivating remote workers


By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

A team of researchers recruited 1135 participants to take place in a study that collected information on their work experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic over time. The data collection began in April of 2020 and will continue to run for 6 months. Initial findings were recently shared by the researchers (1). Among many results, the researchers uncovered that managers are feeling uncertain about employee motivation in a remote work setting — 41% of managers agreed with the statement “I am skeptical as to whether remote workers can stay motivated in the long term” and 17% were unsure.

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What goes around, comes back around? Virtual leadership and micromanaging

Virtual leadership and micromanaging


By Madison Hanscom, PhD

When it comes to leading a virtual or flex workforce, trust is everything. Managers are struggling with new ways of leading — including the delicate balance between giving enough direction without micromanaging. When leaders are accustomed to seeing employees in an office every day, it can be difficult adjusting to an arrangement that has less observational opportunities. In a flexible work model, it is not as easy to closely monitor due to physical proximity, but some leaders adjust well by embracing the opportunity to give people more autonomy. Other leaders do not adjust as well and try to closely monitor employees in ways that can quickly feel like an invasion of privacy (i.e., watching through webcams to ensure employees are working).

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Flex Work: The Need for a Long View in a Remote Workspace

The Need for a Long View for a Remote Workspace

By Dale Lawrence

While most leaders have adopted a plan of not bringing every employee back to the physical workplace, what is unclear is “how long?”, “how is this impacting my strategy?” and “what impact will this have on my business, partners and customers?”. Without a clear understanding of the long-term impacts of Coronavirus on society and specifically the economy, many leaders are unable to project far into the future business planning. Not only does this impact budgetary planning for capital and operating expenses, it changes how leaders look to growth, partnerships, supply chains, business improvements and customer experience initiatives.

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Providing autonomy in a flexible work environment

Providing autonomy in a flexible work

By Madison Hanscom, Ph.D.

Autonomy is a beneficial job characteristic. Research has shown when you give employees more control over their work, it is related to a host of great outcomes like job satisfaction and higher performance (1). An advantage to remote work is the opportunity for individuals to enjoy more of the autonomy they desire — but are flex workers always getting this autonomy in reality?

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Boundaries are blurry. Be a safety champion at work and at home

Be a safety champion at work and at home

By Madison Hanscom, PhD

The boundaries between work and home can sometimes feel blurry. For instance, it is not uncommon for us to bring work home with us — whether it is psychological or physical. If you have a negative confrontation with a manager, you might come home in an awful mood to your spouse. If you pull your back picking up something heavy on the job, you might not feel well enough to toss the ball with your kids on the weekend. This also happens in the opposite direction of course, too. If you are stressed or hurt at home, it can spill over into the work domain.
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Work from home experiences: Findings from a multinational survey

Work from home experiences



By Madison Hanscom, PhD


Covid-19 has contributed to a larger number of individuals working from home than ever before. Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark were interested in the experiences of individuals working from home across several European countries. They surveyed over 4,640 employees (mainly knowledge workers and managers) between March and May of 2020. The authors are still analyzing the large amounts of data that were collected, but initial findings were shared. Interesting results included:
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Can your leader at work influence life at home?

influence life at home



By Madison Hanscom, PhD

Whether it is wrapping up a deliverable, venting about a hard day, or preparing for the next day ahead, many of us bring work home. But has research been conducted to examine the effects of leadership characteristics spilling over into the home domain of their followers? A recent study was conducted to examine the impact that empowering leaders have on their employees’ home lives.
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Design Thinking with a Remote Workforce: How to Drive Process and Customer Experience Improvements During Coronavirus

tablet-of-online-workshop


By Dale Lawrence

Even during massive business disruptions, job losses and a shift in your customer’s attention, your business is still moving forward. This is not the time to stop innovating. This is not the time to give up on your customers. Many of your workers are feeling isolated and struggling to be productive and likely have far more discretionary time than ever before. It was been shown that a remote workforce starts their day earlier, can have less distractions during the workday and tends to work later than the traditional office worker.
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The Impact of a Reduced Social Environment

casual family together



By Kelly Cave and Madison Hanscom

While the act of social distancing is crucial in reducing the spread of COVID-19, being separated from human contact can have detrimental effects on mental health and overall wellbeing. The reason people struggle with isolation is because humans evolved as social beings. In other words, we form groups and organizations that extend beyond our individual selves and these groups help us survive.

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Is your remote workforce prepared for COVID-19 cybersecurity threats?

technology safety

By Martin Royal

While taking care of our health and safety during the COVID-19 crisis is the priority, many will find themselves working remotely for the first time and might face other potential threats: cybersecurity threats.
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Maintaining a culture of trust during a crisis

maintaining_trust


By Martin Royal

As many organizations prepare to encourage their workforce to work remotely, the change of work environment has the potential to impact employee's perception of the organization, of the leaders and of each other. It can be tricky to maintain a level of communication and trust when new remote workers are finding themselves working with other remote colleagues in multiple locations and time zones. One factor that could determine how well your team will work remotely together is that of trust, or the lack of it.

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8 Tips for Managing Distractions While Working Remotely

Please do not disturb



By Stephanie Monge-Sherman

Are you working remotely and finding it hard to focus on work tasks? While frustrating, this lack of focus is completely normal. The reason for your wandering attention is because our brains have a limited conscious capacity. Translation: we can only focus on a small number of things at once.
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Four Ways to Stay Connected in a Virtual World

business man on phone at computer


By Julia Borges

Virtual Work and COVID-19

If our world wasn’t already virtual, it sure is now. Amidst the Novel COVID-19 pandemic that has completely changed the way the world works, businesses are faced with the challenge of staying connected in a virtual world. Many businesses may already be comfortable with working virtually as this is has become increasingly popular over the years, but for some businesses, this way of working is uncharted territory. Read More...

Leading Your Business Through COVID-19: Shifted Your Teams to Remote Work, But Now What?

working-from-home-on-computer-writing-notes


By Dale Lawrence

While we all are experiencing a number of fast-moving business problems, most companies have shifted work to remote locations with little preparation. Like running out of the office at the sign of a fire, many employees didn’t take more than the basics. Hopefully the basics included a laptop and mobile device, but this may not be the case everywhere. If your company hasn’t fully assessed the business requirements for transitioning every role to remote work, you likely have gaps. Some gaps are likely hidden and serious.

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Mutual Safety: why we need to lookout for one another

Doctor taking prescription


By: Julia Borges, M.A.

What is mutual safety?

As the number of confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus continues to climb, people all over the world are preparing for its impacts. Some are stocking up on food, others are working from home, and some are choosing to self-isolate. Self-isolation is one of the most important steps we can take to slow the spread of this virus – and it’s not just for our own safety, it’s also for the safety of others. This is what we call mutual safety. In the case of this pandemic, it is when two or more parties take actions, such as self-isolation, to keep themselves and others from contracting the virus. Mutual safety is when we look beyond ourselves and take actions that increase the safety of others. Read More...

Creating Social Connectedness During COVID-19

Working-in-isolation


By Kelly Cave

With cities, stores, public spaces, and offices around the world shutting down amid the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are all finding ourselves more isolated than usual. A major negative side effect of the CDC’s recommended practice of social distancing includes feelings of isolation and a lack of connection to our family, friends, and coworkers. Isolation is the exact opposite of what evolution has hard-wired us to do because humans are naturally social beings. Years of research has shown time and time again that social isolation has detrimental effects on our metal health and overall wellbeing. In times of stress, we find comfort in seeking out and supporting one another, which is typically done in-person. However, this in-person contact is the exact opposite of what the CDC recommends us to do in order to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus.
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What happens if I discover someone has COVID-19 at my workplace?


leadership-during-COVID-19

By Madison Hanscom

In order to keep yourself, your employees, and others around you free from illness, it is important to backtrack and reflect where you have been in the past two weeks to assess exposure. This includes the work environment. What if one of your employees has been in close proximity to an individual in the workplace who now has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or someone who is displaying symptoms?
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Dealing with COVID-19: Alleviating Stress & Anxiety via Communication

business-people-with-stress-due-to-CoronaVirus


By Maggie Carey

As we face these trying times it is easy to get swept into the hysteria that surrounds COVID-19. Coronavirus is real, and try as we might, we do not have control over it. However, we do have control over how we respond to it. So, how can we change the way we communicate to manage our current stress and anxiety?

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How to run effective virtual meetings

Empty boardroom table and chair with light colour wood

By Brie DeLisi

There is a call to practice Social Distancing in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, and many organizations have responded accordingly. Companies are shifting to an entirely remote workforce, where possible, and with this significant shift in the physical nature of the workplace, comes a new workforce dynamic. Meetings that were previously held in person are now shifting to a virtual conference call – and that can exacerbate pre-existing issues around participant engagement. In order to better prepare you and your team for this new meeting setting, we’ve compiled a number of recommendations to run effective virtual meetings: Read More...

Working from Home: Tips and Considerations

Family man working from home at kitchen table copy

By Josh Williams, Ph.D. & Julia Borges, M.A.

Amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, more organizational leaders are making the challenging and responsible decision to shift everyday work to be done remotely by employees. While this can support the slow of this pandemic, this work style can present a host of organizational challenges, stressors, and increase levels of uncertainty. If organizations are going to shift to remote work, it is important that they gather and implement best practices to make this transition as seamless as possible: Read More...

Working from home? Here is your safety checklist:

Mac computer desktop keyboard administration typing

By Brie DeLisi

Whether you are a seasoned remote employee or new to working from home due to COVID-19, there are a number of considerations to take for working at home safely.


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